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Computer Science and Language (CSL)

CSL combines the study of Computer Science; a natural language, either German, French or Irish; and Linguistics. Linguistics is the scientific study of language and computational linguistics is the study of languages from a computational perspective.

Computer Science Component

The computer science component of CSL seeks to impart a mastery of the techniques and technologies that lie behind what you see on the screen of one of today's computers, giving you a full understanding the computer applications of today, and enabling you to participate in the development of the applications of the future. No prior knowledge of programming is required; some aptitude for mathematics, for the analysis of a system, for recognition of structure will help. For this reason the degree requires a C3 or better in Higher Level maths.

Participating department: School of Computer Science and Statistics.

Language Component

For the chosen language (French, German or Irish), this component of CSL will provide you with a degree-level standard of comprehension, grammatical competence and fluency, in both written and spoken language. For those undertaking French or German, a significant feature of the programme is you will spend the third year abroad as an Erasmus exchange student . The CSL degree has an extensive network of exchange agreements with European universities that offer a similar combination of computer science and linguistics, and during the year abroad education in these components of the CSL degree continues, via the relevant language. See Course Structure.

Participating departments: French, German and Irish.

Linguistics Component

Besides mastering a particular language, CSL students become acquainted also with the scientific study of language in general (linguistics), as well as technologies specifically focussed on language (computational linguistics). This involves study of such things as the sound systems used by languages generally, how these are produced by humans by manipulating a flow of air, how they can be recognised by a computer from a digital encoding of sound, how syntactic structures show regularities across languages, how a sentence's syntactic structure relates to its meaning, and so on.

See here for further information on this component.

Participating departments: School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences and School of Computer Science and Statistics.

Why study CSL ?

The CSL degree is one of the most interdisciplinary offered by the university, bridging both science and arts, and its different strands foster a wide range of talents, from practical, problem-solving in computer science, to more analytical skills in understanding novel concepts in linguistics, to fluency and cultural awareness in the language component. There are challenges in this, but the degree is, we think, a very rewarding one (see some of our graduates' comments).

In an ever more multilingual and technological world, the CSL degree opens up many subsequent employment avenues upon graduation: in software engineering; in professions making direct use of language skills (translators, embassies); for language-technology companies who seek to develop software which handles language intelligently (eg. Google, Microsoft, Apple); traditional Arts-graduate careers. See careers as well as what past graduates say.

You can find out more about the CSL degree by:

On the power of language…

It is astonishing what language can do. With a few syllables it can express an incalculable number of thoughts, so that even a thought grasped by a terrestrial being for the very first time can be put into a form of words which will be understood by someone to whom the thought is entirely new. This would be impossible, were we not able to distinguish parts in the thoughts corresponding to the parts of a sentence, so that the structure of the sentence serves as the image of the structure of the thoughts. -- Frege 1923

Erstaunlich ist es, was die Sprache leistet, indem sie mit wenigen Silben unübersehbar viele Gedanken ausdrückt, daß sie sogar für einen Gedanken, den nun zum ersten Male ein Erdbürger gefaßt hat, eine Einkleidung findet, in der ihn ein anderer erkennen kann, dem er ganz neu ist. Dies wäre nicht möglich, wenn wir in dem Gedanken nicht Teile unterscheiden könnten, denen Satzteile entsprechen, so dass der Aufbau des Satzes als Bild gelten könnte des Aufbaus des Gedankens. -- Frege 1923

Les prestations de la langue sont vraiment surprenantes: exprimer un très grander nombre de pensées avec peu de syllabes - ou même trouver la manière de donner à une pensee une expression verbale qui permettre qu'un autre, pour lequel elle est absolument nouvelle, la reconnaisse. Cela ne serait pas possible si nous ne pouvions distinguer dans la pensée des parties auxquelles correspondent de parties de l'énoncé, de manière à ce que la construction de lénoncé puisse valoir comme image de la construction de la pensée -- Frege 1923

Is iontach an rud is féidir le teanga a dhéanamh. Is féidir léi líon gan áireamh de smaointe a chur in iúl le beagán siollaí, i dtreo is gur féidir fiú an smaoinimh atá neach talmhaí tar éis a ghreamú den chéad uair a chur i mbriathra a thuigfidh duine a mbeidh an smaoineamh sin úrnua ar fad aige. Níorbh fhéidir sin a dhéanamh mura mbeimid in ann páirteanna de na smaointe a aithint a chomhfhreagraíonn do na páirteanna d'abairt, ionas go bhfónann struchtúr na habairte mar íomhá de struchtúr na smaointe. -- Frege 1923

From 2012 onwards, this degree has been renamed Computer Science and Language (CSL) with a single CAO registration number (TR039). From 1985 to 2011 the degree went by the name Computer Science, Linguistics and a Language (CSLL), with separate CAO numbers relating to the choice of language.


Last updated 17 October 2016 by enquiries@scss.tcd.ie.